SPORTS: Hardy group up early for first Hurricane cycling event

PORT ANGELES — A hardy group was up at Hurricane Ridge early Sunday morning.

The first-ever Ride the Hurricane cycling event took place in ideal conditions on Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge Road.

Starting just after dawn from the Heart O’ the Hills entrance station, the first group of riders headed up at 6 a.m. with a total of 197 participating.

The last riders left to cover the 12 miles and 3,300-foot elevation change just after 9 a.m.

The road was closed to vehicles during the event. This is the first time that has happened.

This created a spectacular venue for the riders as the cool temperatures and no wind made the riding environment-perfect.

Three riders of the first group leaving at 6 a.m., Tennis Olson, Paul Beck and John Hunsaker, covered the distance in about 60 minutes.

Christine Ellis, the first woman to the top, was not far behind.

This event was promoted as a recreational ride and participants were encouraged to stop at the aide stations and enjoy the fantastic views.

Once at the top, their accomplishment was documented with a certificate of achievement and a photo.

This event was organized by the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Black Ball Ferry Line, MV Coho.

It has been in the discussion stages for the past several years.

The North Olympic Peninsula, Seattle area, Kitsap Peninsula and Victoria were well represented but the event also attracted participants from Oregon, Idaho and California.

The plan is to make this an annual event on the first Sunday of August, and to make it a premier cycling destination event for Port Angeles, Russ Veenema, executive director of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce, said.

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